Ocarina of Time vs GTA4 - Destructoid

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My name is Eric, and I'm a University student. I've been playing video games since I was just a little guy, and have always had a lot of fun following the good old Console War. Which brings me to why I'm here. I heard that Destructoid is a good place for sharing views, and all in all getting some insight into the mindset behind what's going on with gaming these days. For better or worse...

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10:49 AM on 04.30.2008

I’ve recently become aware of an issue surrounding the release of Grand Theft Auto 4. On the site “Gamerankings.com” it has now become number 1 ranked game of all time, taking the place of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This has spawned debates with plenty of anger on both sides, and I hope to bring some order to the mayhem…

Looking at Ocarina for a moment, this brings up a whole other side debate. Was Ocarina deserving of that number 1 spot in the first place? Well that depends on how you look at it. Ultimately, it’s just another Zelda game with the same old Zelda story and gameplay. However, what sets it apart is what it did, and when it did it. It was unheard of in 1998 to have such a game to run around in freely with an open world feel to it. It also perfected the 3D lock on camera and set the bar for the time. I could go on listing achievements, but the basic point is that it was a technical marvel, and that’s why it held that number 1 slot for nearly a decade.

Using the same logic, provided you agree with it, is GTA4 not doing the exact same thing? Setting aside the storyline, the theme, and pretty well everything that makes a GTA game a GTA game, it is also undeniably a technical marvel for the time. The massive sandbox world is unparalleled, and consists of countless things to do. The polish and design of the city is extremely impressive. Considering the scope of the world, one would think that it wouldn’t be possible to make a city so large look so good. We’ve seen that before in games like Spiderman 2 or even previous installments in the GTA series, but they’ve pulled it off here and credit is deserved for that. To top it off, they brought this sandbox gameplay online to share with friends in any number of ways. When looking at what this game offers, the word that comes to mind is “overwhelming”.

On this thought process alone, GTA4 beats out Ocarina hands down. It’s providing the same effect on the gaming industry, only a decade later. It’s clear that this is how the reviewers see it, but what’s spawning the debates is what GTA is. It being the kind of game that it is, anyone outside of its own fan base will hate it. They won’t appreciate the criminal theme, or the sandbox gameplay. They will even go as far as to say that it’s a step in the wrong direction for the gaming industry, because it’s not bringing anything original to the table and is only praying on the teenage desire to “fuck things up”. For those people, Grand Theft Auto bumping down Ocarina of Time, a long renowned masterpiece of what gaming truly is, is a travesty and is unacceptable.

Those who like GTA or simply believe that reviews should be based on specs above all else will think it is deserving of the number 1 spot. Those who think otherwise, will not. Or maybe you think neither deserves the spot, which brings me to my final thought…

I believe the answer is to simply not compare games in this fashion and pin no weight on the “top 10” that Gamerankings has set up. It’s only a mathematical equation after all, and any one of us knows that judging games is about so much more then that. So regardless of what it is you think of the games individually or what your stance is on the gaming industry as a whole, there is simply no point putting them head to head. But if you must, remember this. Only time will tell if Grand Theft Auto 4 will be talked about a decade from now. Until then, we can only wait and see…
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